• Keeping Friends

Concerned About My Friend’s Extramarital Relationship With A Married Guy

Published: October 8, 2011 | Last Updated: December 2, 2021 By | 2 Replies Continue Reading
Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Her best friend is having an extramarital affair with a married guy and she isn’t sure where she wants to maintain the friendship.

QUESTION

Dear Irene,

My best friend has been having an affair with a married man who is very controlling and possessive. We have been friends for over 30 years and this has been the first time that she has become totally dependent on a relationship like this. He moved in with her five months ago but still remains married and supports his wife.

Our prior relationship changed completely when he moved in. She would not speak to me on the phone or see me because she said that she needed a period of adjustment.

Unfortunately, he has left her to go back to his wife several times and she has disclosed information to me about him that makes me very uncomfortable and concerned about her well-being. I have tried to talk with her about how uncomfortable this makes me but she says that if I cannot accept this the way it is we cannot be friends.

I truly care for her but I just do not know what to do. Now she wants to act like everything is normal and to include him in our day-to-day lives. I have moved on but I am heartbroken.

Signed,

Jackie

ANSWER

Dear Jackie,

When a friend is involved in an extramarital affair with a married guy, it’s hard to talk her out of it using reason.

You may be looking at the relationship objectively but she is involved emotionally. Because the boyfriend has been living with her on and off, she probably feels like he is committed to her and to their relationship—whether or not it is true.

You have done what a good friend can do: You have expressed your concerns that she may get hurt. But you can’t control her behavior and unfortunately, she will only end the relationship when she is ready.

While the loss of a 30-year friendship is potentially a terrible blow for you both, it seems like your options are limited:

1) You can back away from the friendship completely if you have a strong moral aversion to her being involved in an extramarital affair, or

2) You can maintain the friendship, being clear that while you support her, you don’t support the relationship and aren’t comfortable being involved with him yourself. As an alternative, you can suggest that you spend “girlfriend time” together without him.

Whatever decision you make, my hope is that you will find some way to be there for her should she really need you in the future.

Best,

Irene


Some prior posts on The Friendship Blog about the impact of and extramarital affair on friendships:

Tags: , , , , ,

Category: KEEPING FRIENDS

Comments (2)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. LaTrice says:

    I can’t imagine being best friends with someone who’s participating in an extramarital affair. It’s extremely uncomfortable, and you don’t want her to get hurt, but in the end, she’s only hurting herself. As Irene was saying, she will end the relationship whenever she’s ready.

    In my personal opinion, I think it’s best to keep your distance from her. She’s already uncomfortable discussing her extramarital affair with a married man, so you can keep contact to a bare minimum.

  2. Anonymous says:

    There are clues here that this guy may very well be abusive – emotionally and/or physically. “Controlling” and “possessive” are hallmark qualities of abusers. Cheating/having extramarital affairs is a sign of an entitlement complex, another hallmark of an abuser. Also, abusers often make a concerted effort to interfere with and cut off their victim’s social and familial ties, which could explain the sudden distance.

    I realize my comment comes long after this letter was posted, but I’m new to this site and perusing old advice, and this LEAPED out at me.

    I think it’s worth temporarily setting aside any moral dilemma for the time being. If this man is in fact controlling and abusive, her friend is going to need someone to help her when things escalate.

    For anyone dealing with possible abuse, a fantastic resource is an easy to obtain book from Lundy Bancroft called, “Why Does He Do That?” It definitively defines abuse, how to spot it, and offers sound advice on what to do about it. I know I’m just a stranger on the ‘net, but trust me, this is *THE* book on this subject. I keep having the thought that it would benefit all advice columnists to read this book, as I often see huge red flags in advice column letters that go undetected by well-meaning columnists. 🙂

Leave a Reply